With a growing number of people and resources taking an interest in cannabis legalization, many jurisdictions are seeing legal initiatives passed into legislation. The arguments for and against cannabis legalization vary by region and include: the safety of children, tax revenue generation, the efficiency of law enforcement, and the effects on organized drug trafficking. These arguments about the illegality of cannabis legalization in various parts of the United States vary greatly and often reach well outside the traditional purview of drug abuse or substance abuse treatment. Some of the most popular arguments against cannabis legalization center around the belief that the drug is gateway drugs. Others argue that cannabis use is widespread among the black community, and that legalization would create more addicts and dealers in the black market.
Some jurisdictions have actually addressed the issues of weed and addiction by passing laws against cannabis activity. Arizona and Colorado have both passed propositions arguing that the sale and regulation of marijuana is a violation of their states’ newly written laws against marijuana. Both states have also placed strong penalties against those caught with pot, including heavy fines and even imprisonment. However, these two states are not the only ones considering legislation that would legalize marijuana possession and cultivation. Mexico is debating legislation that would make it legal to grow, sell and use marijuana, while the Australian government is debating whether to legalize medicinal cannabis and regulate its production and sale.
Despite the push for legalization in the United States, there is some resistance within the drug treatment community. Many in the medical establishment and within law enforcement are fearful that legalization will result in increased drug use, more people getting addicted to marijuana, and the further criminalization of this beneficial plant. There are also concerns that legalization of weed could lead to more teenagers using and purchasing marijuana on a regular basis, thus increasing the demand for harder drugs such as opioids. Some fear that legal weed will be a replacement for hard drugs and make marijuana more accessible for teens. This will only fuel more drug abuse.
In fact, an increase in drug abuse in America has been tied to the increasing availability of marijuana. It is now easier for young adults to experiment with hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines without parental or adult guidance. With less stigma attached to drug abuse, it is no wonder that marijuana is more easily accessible today than it was decades ago. For parents who are worried about their kids’ drug use, legalizing marijuana would seem to make a good option.
When considering legislation to legalize marijuana, both in the United States and abroad, it is important to remember that the effects of such legislation do not just fall on the residents of the state it affects. International drug trafficking organizations are finding ways to move their illegal marijuana crops across state lines and international borders. This means that even when the marijuana laws of one country are defeated at the federal level, criminals can still freely traffose marijuana across state lines and internationally. For this reason, it is important that marijuana is legalized not just for the United States, but for the entire world.
If cannabis is legalized across the United States, a tremendous amount of money will be sent back to Mexican drug lords who are causing a vast amount of violence along the Mexico border. By eliminating cannabis consumers in the United States, we are also reducing the demand that they use, which would lead to higher prices and shortages in the domestic cannabis market. If marijuana is legalized across the United States, the prices will increase because there will not be enough supply to keep the black market alive. However, if marijuana is legalized, more people will realize that the medical benefits of cannabis are worth the convenience of buying the drug illegally.